Compassion Is My Secret Weapon

The founder of my Life Coaching School and Master Coach, Brooke Castillo, speaks on the regular of the benefits of unconditional love. But her approach is different than most in that her opinion is unconditional love is something we do for ourselves because we are the ones who get to feel the love. And who doesn’t want to feel love, Right? So when handed a silver platter of emotions to pick from, why not choose love? It feels great, and the other person doesn’t even have to know about it, and you can stop your suffering.

Complete transparency? I struggle with this. Especially when it comes to the idea of loving people who have caused me a significant amount of pain or who trigger me HARD. I try to feel unconditional love for them, I really do. And on an intellectual level, I know how much I would benefit from it. But when people don’t act how I feel they should, my brain is like “that’s bullshit, they don’t deserve it.” And the last thing this chick is feeling is unconditional love.

I discussed this topic with my Coach this week. I was sharing my struggles I continue to have as a blended family mom, and she offered me this: “What if instead of unconditional love, you tried to have compassion?” That tiny change in perspective provided a huge shift in how I felt about everything. YES, I can totally have compassion for these humans, even when I don’t agree with how they behave, and even when they cause me pain (Which is never true. No one can make you feel anything without your permission).

Understanding why people behave the way they do, not easy. Being okay with their behavior, also not easy. But having compassion for how they must be feeling to make them behave that way, for me, was far more tangible. And when I could get there, to a place of compassion, these monsters started to look like humans again, no longer evil entities whose only desire was to make my life difficult. Being able to recognize and acknowledge their humanness allowed the divisive idea that it was me versus them to dissolve.

But it’s so easy to push them all the way to the dark side, right? They are evil, and we are good. They are the villains, and we are the victims. That feels so much better. That way, we can remain powerless, and they can still be the focus of our blame, cause of our pain, and we get to dodge responsibility. How could we possibly identify with such monsters? Especially when if we were to identify with these monsters, we run the risk of identifying with the monsters within ourselves.

But, in reality, we are all partly dark and partly light. No one is “good” all of the time, and no one is “bad’ all of the time. There is no invisible line where the light ends, and the darkness begins. By rejecting the darkness in others, we are also rejecting it within ourselves. For if we can only love someone when they are good, the insinuation is they are unworthy of love when they are bad. Then so are we only worthy of love when we are good and, therefore, unworthy of love when we are bad. But this is never true because we are worthy all of the time. Our worthiness is absolute, regardless of our mistakes.

By withholding compassion from others, we are also withholding compassion from ourselves. By withholding love from others, we are also withholding love from ourselves. When I’m loving and compassionate toward others, it makes it easier to be loving and compassionate toward myself. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “hurt people hurt people.” Practicing compassion means I can recognize someone else’s suffering without making it my own. It’s like a secret weapon that allows me to see the monsters for what they are, humans in pain, with their own demons to slay. They get to choose how they behave and so do I. Unconditional love for the humans, I’m still working on that. But compassion, I can do.

Gratitude Gives Me Grace

The holidays are coming. Trying to navigate the Holidays as a blended family always seems to ratchet that stress up a notch. We have three kids with three different custody orders. That means coordinating schedules for three kiddos with the input from 6 parents (not to mention extended family members). It is challenging, to say the least. We rarely get all of the time that we want with all three of the kids during the holidays. It used to make me upset and frustrated. I felt like everyone else had a say in what was going on in my life except me. And nothing puts me over the edge like feeling powerless.

I’d bitch and complain to friends and family about how unfair it was and how uncooperative everyone was being. Chris and I would spin and argue over what was the best way to handle everything and how to get what we deserved when it came to time with his kids. Do you know what that got me? Miserable holidays. Do you know what it didn’t get me? Any more time with the kids. If anything, time was wasted by being so wrapped up in my temper tantrum about what we weren’t getting that I wasn’t even present when we did have them.

What if the answer isn’t more time but more appreciation for the time you DO have? Appreciation and gratitude sure feel a hell of a lot better than bitterness and resentment. I noticed that appreciation keeps me grounded in now and stops the desire to chase for more. It also helps me stay focused on what matters most, time with my kids, and making the most of the time we have together as a family. 

What if focusing on what you’re not getting is making you miss out on what you already have? And I’m not saying you can’t make requests for more time with your kiddos during the Holidays; I’m just saying don’t be emotionally attached to the outcome. Don’t let a “yes” or “no” make or break the Joy you get to share with your family. The Holidays are just dates on a calendar. Those dates mean nothing until we assign meaning to them. Holidays are what WE make of them. We have the power to make them joyous and memorable or miserable events we’d rather forget. Maybe this holiday, the best gifts we can give ourselves are more gratitude, more understanding, more patience, and more appreciation. And allowing ourselves these emotional blessings make it that much easier to share them with all the other people we come across this Holiday season too.

The Weight of My Emotional Baggage

I hired a new coach, she’s fantastic. She broke my brain in our very first session. Cracked that bad boy wide open, and I’ve had breakthrough after breakthrough since. This week’s breakthrough was realizing just how much emotional baggage I’ve been carrying around in my relationship with my husband, Chris.

Being in a blended family is freaking hard! With so many moving pieces and involvement of several different personalities, it’s impossible not to have conflict. Oh man, Chris, and I have seen some conflict! And this week, I saw for the first time just how many of the big fights and hurt feelings I’ve been collecting and carrying with me.

Every argument we’ve had over his exes, my ex, the kids. Every time I felt he should have protected me and didn’t. I let it weigh on my heart, my mind, and my world. So whenever we’d get into a big fight, I’d drag out my bag of injustices and throw all that shit at him. It was some Santa level baggage, and I was hanging onto all that stuff for dear life. Even after he’d apologized and owned his part.

Somewhere in my brain, I think I imagined that holding onto all of it was my way of punishing him for hurting me. It felt justified. It felt purposeful. It felt important, and I had a shit-ton of evidence to support it all (which only made me argue for all the reasons I thought I deserved to hang onto it).

But this is what I finally realized. I was so focused on collecting and keeping track of every time I’ve been wronged, I had a hard time seeing all the stuff that was actually going right. Bringing up all that old shit not only discounted the progress we’d already made, it was preventing us from maintaining it, causing the yo-yo of being awesome one week and then fighting the next. 

I thought hanging on to all that stuff was necessary. I thought it would prevent me from getting hurt again. But now I see carrying all that stuff around was only hurting me. I was the cause of my own suffering, and you know what suffering doesn’t lead to? Security, happiness, connection, appreciation, forgiveness, resilience, all things that I view as important in a marriage.

You guys, when I could finally see this, it was like the clouds parted, and a million pounds had been lifted from my chest. I felt lighter, freer, it was insanely liberating. How had I not seen it? Reliving it over and over again was not only optional but completely unnecessary. But now I DO SEE it. So I put that shit down and didn’t turn back. I’ve always considered our marriage to be really, really good and now I see what has been holding me back from helping make it great. 

Why is this important? Because we don’t just do this with husbands, partners, and paramours. We do this with friends, family, co-workers, and when co-parenting. Disagreements will happen. Hurt feelings will arise. People will disappoint you and make you angry. We are humans. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. You can’t control the humans. This is a reminder that avoiding pain is not an option. But choosing suffering is.

20 Nuggets From My Brain to Yours

  1. Belief is one of the most powerful skills we’re NOT taught to harness. 
  2. So many of us actually have no idea how to feel, process, and cope with our emotions. 
  3. All the bullshit your brain tells you really is optional.
  4. You can be right, or you can be happy.
  5. More does not always equal happy.
  6. Sometimes letting go get’s you where you want to be way faster than holding on. 
  7. Owning your shit means no one else can use it against you. 
  8. Fear is never a good reason not to do something. 
  9. There is no shortcut around vulnerability.
  10. You can’t ask someone to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself.
  11. Where ever you go, there you are (props to Machelle Galloway for this fave).
  12. Love is always the best option.
  13. Sometimes love looks like, “no.”
  14. All of the reasons you’re not doing something are usually the exact reasons you need to do it. 
  15. You’ll hear the message when your brain is ready to receive it. 
  16. You can’t get out of your way until you admit you’re the obstacle.
  17. Sometimes feeling good is scarier than feeling bad.
  18. Failing isn’t the problem; it’s what you decide to do after that counts. 
  19. Not all people are your people, and that’s okay. 
  20. If you’re resisting the bad stuff, then you’re resisting the good stuff too. 

You’re Never Going to Have Time

“I don’t have time,” is probably one the most sneakily powerful thoughts we have that we believe. I have a full-time job. I’m building a business. I have clients to serve, content to create, and coaching appointments to keep. I also have kiddos that need help with homework, school projects, and being reminded to put away their clothes, brush their teeth, and dear god, please shower. Let’s also not forget my marriage to the awesome guy holding it down during all this chaos. I have lots of evidence to prove that, “I don’t have time,” but that doesn’t mean I believe it.

Time is the only thing we can’t create more of. We can make more money, buy more stuff, find more friends. We only get 24 hours in a day, and we never really know how many years we’ll be gifted.  

This past weekend was the second anniversary of the passing of my husband’s father, and it has me thinking a lot about time. Primarily because we so frequently use it as the reason we do or don’t do anything. The truth is, you’re never going to have time, it will never be the “right time.” Extra time isn’t going to magically appear on your doorstep, announcing its arrival, so you feel comfortable making a decision. There isn’t a “more time” fairy godmother. You need only to decide it’s the right time, commit, and then take action to make it happen. That’s it. No, really, it’s that simple.

Does this sound like you? “Well, I just have so much going on right now, I’m not sure when I would fit it in?” Or how about, “the kids have soccer and gymnastics, Bill is working a lot of overtime lately too. I just don’t think we can do it right now.” The things that you are continually neglecting, your mental, emotional and physical health are all the things you should be making the MOST time for. You know why? Because when you fill your own cup, it has a compounding effect on all areas of your life. 

When you say “no” to yourself, you’re not just saying no to completing that activity at that moment. You’re saying no to the person you want to be, the parent you want to be, the partner you want to be, or the partner you want to attract. You’re saying “no,” to the life you want to have.  

Not making yourself a priority impacts everyone in your life. So if you’re not taking care of yourself and sacrificing your needs for the sake of your kids, husband, family, job, you’re actually doing them a disservice too. Because they don’t get all of you when you don’t have all of you to give. That’s on you. Hear me on this. THERE IS NO ONE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. It is your job to have your back, fight for you, make you a priority, LOVE you enough to draw boundaries, and make the time. There will never be time until you make it. Stop waiting for the “right time” because it doesn’t exist. You make a decision, and you commit to it, that’s it.  

I’m not talking about some massive mental and physical overhaul here. So many times, we think self-care has to be some ginormous undertaking like meditating an hour every day, never eating bread and pasta ever again, and drinking kale smoothies every day. NO! That’s not reality, and it won’t help you be successful in building new habits. What do you love to do? What fills your cup? What makes you feel alive? What brings you peace? 

Some times that’s going shopping at Target with your Starbucks and strolling through the isles, ALONE. Some times that’s attending brunch or dinner with your girlfriends. It can be getting up a half-hour early so you can drink your coffee in peace on the porch. It’s taking the dogs for a walk or walking around the block on lunch. You could listen to a fave podcast in your car on the way to pick up the kids. Figure out what makes you feel good and then commit to doing it over and over again. 

I get up before my kids so I can do my thought download and empty my brain before the day begins. I listen to podcasts while I make dinner, fold laundry, or drive to the store. I ask my husband to hang with the kids or wait until they are in bed so I can take a bath. Sometimes it’s locking myself in the bedroom and watching even one episode of my fave Netflix show, all alone without interruption. 

I know, I know, I can hear you already. “I can’t do that, because I have to do A, B, C, and D.” Or, “My kids/husband would never let me do that.” I know you love your kids, your husband, the dogs, etc. But it’s not their fault you keep saying “yes” to them and “no” to you. That’s on you, friend. If you love them, then you’ll put yourself first. I know you want to argue with me on this. I know your brain is telling you that this sounds backward. I PROMISE you that it’s not. Just try it for a week. What is one thing you can do for FIVE minutes every day to fill your cup?? Decide what it is, commit to doing it every day, even when you don’t want to. You’ll be amazed at how just a sliver of the day dedicated to yourself can impact your day, week, and life. 

Still feeling like you don’t know how to do this or you can’t? Not sure what to do next? Then you’re gonna sign up for that coaching consult! No wondering, no worrying, decide and commit!

My Painful Pursuit of Perfection

One of my biggest fears has always been a fear of failure. I’m not even really sure where it stems from, but it’s led me to be painfully perfectionistic (is that a real word?). I used to believe that perfectionism was an admirable personality trait, and I wore it with pride. Here’s the thing, it wasn’t creating high levels of performance, it created paralysis. When faced with trying some new activity, if I weren’t 100% positive that I could ace it, I wouldn’t even try. That’s not admirable, it’s not honorable, it’s just failing ahead of time. Instead of pushing me to do more and be better, my desire for perfection kept me playing small. I used to think being a perfectionist helped my self-confidence. But now I see it was just cutting my confidence off at the knees. 

When I made a mistake, I would beat myself up endlessly. I would replay my mistakes in my head over and over mixed with an endless stream of self-criticism. “Oh my god, I can’t believe how awful that was. I’m never going to be good at this. That was awful, I sounded like a complete idiot. No one is ever going to take me seriously,” and on and on and on it would go. I thought to be a perfectionist made me a better performer, and that beating myself up would prevent me from making the same mistake again. Also, I realized being trapped in my own head was “easier” than dealing with the actual emotions I was running from, such as shame, embarrassment, or disappointment. I thought that beating myself up was necessary for me to improve. But it was actually slowing me down and derailing my progress. I’d be so wrapped up in my head obsessing about doing everything “right” that it prevented me from taking any action at all. The self-criticism felt purposeful, necessary even, but it was secretly stealing time that I could have spent taking action.   

My perfectionism has been a source of burnout. I’ve been so hard on myself that it sucked the joy out of everything; coaching, writing, studying, learning. I was so emotionally exhausted and frustrated from battling my perfectionist brain that I wanted to give up. This didn’t feel good. It wasn’t fun. Why would I want to continue doing anything that would just result in self-assault? So I would blame whatever thing I was working on that I thought was causing me pain, and I thought the answer was to quit. I blamed my blog, learning how to write copy, learning how to build a website, learning how to coach clients. Everything and anything could be used as evidence that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t doing it right, or someone was doing it better. Striving for perfection wasn’t motivating me to be better, it was making me want to give up.

I was listening to a podcast about being a perfectionist by Jody Moore, another Coach, and felt like she was describing me. Being a perfectionist has not helped me excel or step up my game. Instead, it has robbed me of any feelings of satisfaction, fulfillment, or pride in the work I’ve done. She spoke about how, with perfectionists, nothing is ever “complete.” That’s me! I will edit, re-edit, take a break and then edit some more. But here’s the crazy part. It’s not like all of that re-work results in any sort of satisfaction because the whole time, I’m only focused on what’s lacking and imperfect instead of allowing myself to see the good. 

Here’s the other problem, the way we do one thing is how we do everything. Perfectionism shows up in my marriage, how I parent my kids, and my relationships with friends. I can be hyper-critical of my husband and my kids. I have a bad habit of expecting people to have the same level of expectations that I do and can become easily frustrated when they don’t. I frequently discount any progress or achievements in my business and personal life if they aren’t achieved via perfect execution. I’ll brush them off as flukes or luck, discounting the arduous work I’ve actually done instead of taking credit for the fact that maybe the reason I was able to get where I am is because of my efforts, my skills, MY VALUE. 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for excellence or to continue to be our best selves. I’m saying that striving for excellence is very different than being a perfectionist, and you’ll know the difference by how you feel. Striving for excellence is motivating and creates determination. Even though it may require really hard work, striving for excellence doesn’t require a sacrifice of your self-esteem. Your beliefs about your value are not tied to it.

I’m still a recovering perfectionist. It’s something I continue to be aware of and work on every day. I am working on embracing good instead of obsessing over perfect. I’m working on gaining awareness surrounding my all or nothing mentality and that I tend to think in extremes when my perfectionist side is taking over. I remind myself that value is never conditional. I am valuable and worthy right now. I did a google search asking for the difference between perfectionism and excellence. I found a quote from Marc Winn, that read, “Perfectionism is focused on “doing the thing ‘right,'” how things APPEAR, and if OTHERS think it’s done right. Excellence is about “doing the right thing.” It is focused on the REASON for a task, and the RESULTS for it to be a success.” I think that about covers it. 

PS. I only edited this three times, okay four. It’s still progress! 

If you thought the point of coaching was to have a perfect life, you’re wrong. But it can help you be perfectly happy with your life.  Schedule that FREE 45 min coaching consult. Don’t be scared. It’ll be awesome, I promise. 

Why you keep giving up.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

How many times have you gotten super motivated, dedicated, PUMPED to start the new “thing.” You’re READY to find a new job. You’re GOING to start working out on Monday! You’re totally going to start eating better too! Then Monday comes, your alarm goes off, and you hit snooze again and again because going to the gym sounds way less appealing than staying in your snuggly warm bed. You get to work, open your packed lunch of chicken and veggies, and then a coworker tells you the café downstairs is serving their famous lasagna, score! You’ll eat better tomorrow, right?

Or you’ve got your coffee ready, your computer open, and you start looking for jobs. But wait, you see a notification that someone commented on your post on facebook. So down the social media rabbit hole, you go. One hour later, two hours later, no job searches performed, no jobs have been applied for which means no potential to get out of the job you hate now. Damn it, you did it again! This is usually followed by some self-loathing, beating yourself up for not doing “the thing” you said you were going to do, followed by some self-pity and resignation that maybe you just can’t do this. So screw it, you order take out, hunker down with your ice cream, and turn on the Netflix waiting for it to arrive. Sound familiar?

The issue is, we all want change, but we don’t want to do the work. I mean, we all know, from an intellectual level, that change is hard. But we seem to forget this when it’s time to DO the hard part. Let’s be REAL honest for a second, shall we? We don’t really want change, we think we do, but what we really want are the results. Why do you think diet pills are so popular? Who wouldn’t want to live a life where dessert was always an option, where you never had to feel deprived, could eat whatever you wanted, and still remain a 125lb jacked barbie doll thanks to the magic bullet diet pill?? Spoiler alert, that’s not how it works. Why aren’t you reaching your goal? Because you’re not comfortable being uncomfortable, so when things get hard, and the excitement wears off you bail.

We also think that we should WANT to do the hard things all of the time. So when the alarm goes off, and we have no motivation to do anything, we think something has gone wrong, or something is wrong with us. But there isn’t. Your brain is just doing its job of trying to keep you safe. And your mind thinks comfortable equates to safety and it will always want to choose comfort over effort, difficult, challenge, a.k.a 5 am workouts. What’s the cure for this? Do it anyway. When it’s time to do the thing, and you REALLY don’t want to, DO IT ANYWAY. You are not the issue. How early it is, is NOT the issue. Your lack of motivation is NOT an issue. Your brain is the issue. Your brain want’s you to conserve energy, too bad. Don’t listen to your brain. You tell your mind what the plan is. Not the other way around. If you want to reach your goal, you have to ANTICIPATE this, recognize it, and override your brain. Do the thing ANYWAY.

The other reason people give up, they expect perfection. They don’t allow for errors, mistakes, or a learning curve. This was me and every diet I’ve ever tried. I’ve literally been almost every size, from a size 2 to a size 18, back down again. Until last year, I’d been on a perpetual diet since I was 25. I’d start the diet and would be obsessed with eating perfectly. I’d start to have success, fall off the wagon, get frustrated, beat myself up, binge, and then throw my hands up like “I can’t do this shit, I’m out.”
Mastering anything takes practice, and that means messing up, failing, and doing it again. OF COURSE, you’re going to fail. You haven’t mastered the new skill set. If you HAD, then you’d have the fantastic body, relationship, career, already! Perfection is impossible, failing is necessary. I saw a great quote once that said something to the effect of “failure doesn’t mean the game is over. It means try again, with experience.” Whaaaaat??! Game changer.

So what happens when you do fail? You knew it was going to happen at some point because you read this excellent blog. You went off the rails on your diet, you skipped a workout, whatever the “fail” looks like for you. The “fail” is actually wholly unimportant. What you DECIDE to do next IS.

Are you beating the shit out of yourself for everything you did wrong? How you knew you were going to fail again? You knew you couldn’t do this. You knew this was going to be too hard and you should never have even bothered. This is just like you to screw up again!
Is this you? I want you to think about how this makes you feel when you do this. No, for real, take a moment and check-in with yourself and think about how that feels in your body when you are doing this. Not good is what I’m imagining. Actually pretty shitty is what I would expect. It feels shitty when I beat myself up.

Beating yourself up doesn’t serve you, EVER. This is practically a mantra I say to my clients over and over. Beating yourself up may feel purposeful, deserved even, but it does NOT serve you. For one, it feels awful, and feeling awful never drives positive action. Actually, it usually results in self-sabotaging behaviors done in an attempt to relieve our self inflicted misery. It’s not going to help you learn because you’re only focusing on the negative, not on what actually worked or analyzing a new approach, which also leaves you feeling powerless. It sure isn’t going to motivate you to keep going because who would want to try again after all that self-assault? So just stop, right now. Commit to stop beating yourself up. It serves no purpose and will not help you succeed.

Ready to stop giving up? Be okay being uncomfortable. Anticipate not wanting to do it, tell your brain you’re doing it anyway. Be willing to fail and be kind to yourself when you do, and you’ll KEEP GOING!

Are you digging all these blogs? You should come hang out with me in my facebook group. It’s called Blended Bosses Unite. We chat every Sunday about coaching concepts I use myself and with my clients. Come check us out!

YOU 2.0

One of my favorite questions lately for my clients and myself has been, “What would the future you do?” Especially when I’m feeling stuck in inaction and “I don’t wanna.” When Netflix and popcorn sound WAY better than writing a blog or when my clients are stuck in, “I don’t know what to do!” I simply ask, “what would the future you do?” It’s pretty incredible how much wisdom you can mine from your future self. Sometimes it’s easy to get so stuck in the drama of here and now, it clouds the vision of where you are going.

But for real, think about the YOU, you wish you could be. The you who has it all together. What would that bitch do?

The badass who knows who she is, what she’s worth, and oozes confidence. Does she allow her ex to curse at her and call her names? Does she stalk his facebook and his new girl? Hell. No.

The woman who lost the 30lbs and kept it off. Does she complain about meal prep? Does she buffer with food? Does she hit snooze instead of working out? She sure doesn’t.

The woman who is knocking it out of the park at work and nailed that promotion. Does she get distracted by her boss’s pettiness? Does she worry about what everyone else is getting that she’s not? Nope, that chick is busy making shit happen.

Future me isn’t afraid of failing, even though I’m terrified. Future me is a fantastic coach who makes me coach courageously now. Future me cheers me on when I’m scared, so I do the scary thing anyway. Future me made me write this blog because she keeps her commitments to her people and herself. Future me knows there is someone out there who needs me, right now, so she won’t let current me quit.

So I dare you to ask yourself, what does the future you look like? How does YOU 2.0 think, act, and feel? What would they do if they were in your shoes? What would they think when they heard “no?” How do they act when things get hard, or they get uncomfortable?
If you want to become YOU 2.0, you have to start thinking and acting like that person RIGHT now. You have to start living from that place, NOW. This means making decisions based on where you want to go, NOT on where you have been. Give it a try. You can do it. Future me and future you, believe in you.

Still need some more cheering on? Not sure how to channel your future wisdom? Let’s chat! Schedule a free 45 coaching consult now! Go on, do it! Your transformation is waiting!

Pleasure or Pain?

My husband made a joke yesterday about my cranky demeanor this week. I didn’t think it was funny. Actually, it hurt my feelings. I’m not sure if you can tell based on my blogs, but this chick doesn’t do vulnerability. So what initially registered as hurt quickly turned into anger. I didn’t say anything at the time because my coach’s brain told me that they were just words, and I was the one making it mean something about me. But my wife brain was pissed! My mind went from “Love you, have a good day,” to “Bitch, I will cut you.” From one. Single. Sentence.

My thought work focused entirely on my reaction to that one sentence. I worked through all the things I was making it mean (my needs aren’t important, there’s something wrong with me) and the feelings associated with it (hurt, anger) and how these feelings made me show up in my marriage (distant, disconnected, and wait for it…..selfish). Obviously not what I wanted to create in my relationship based on a series of words strung together in an attempt at humor.

I knew I had a choice. I could stay pissed off, stew all day long, blame him, and perpetuate my misery (let’s be honest, our misery). Or I could cut the shit and choose a different way to view the entire scenario that would not only feel better but also serve my marriage (your welcome, husband).

So I decided to write a list of the reasons I believe Chris (the husband) is a better partner than I am because honestly, there are many times he is. What ensued was an interesting stream of thoughts and realizations (in no logical order, so just stay with me). My list started with how Chris is beyond patient with me and my OCD, do it my way, my way is the only way-ness. I’ve never met someone so dedicated to doing the work in relationship the way he is. He fights for me (and therefore us) harder than anyone ever has. He’s always super affectionate and loving to me (even when I resist it). At this point, my brain was like, “Whoa, wait. Why DO you resist his affection so much?” “Well, because then I feel like I’m giving in and he wins. Also, it makes me feel vulnerable, and I really hate feeling vulnerable”, I replied to my brain. And then my mind was like “Hey dummy when you feel connected with your husband; you win too. And affection feels good to YOU TOO. So you’re continuing to fight this, why?” It was at that moment I realized it’s because the discomfort of disconnect, distance, and emotional isolation feels more familiar and therefore EASIER than the joy/pleasure that comes from affection, connection, and love through intimacy. Because disconnect has become more natural for me, my brain told me it was safer, even though it causes me SUFFERING. I was literally choosing pain over pleasure because the pain was more familiar. Mind. Blown.

This is why we don’t apologize; blame instead of taking responsibility, and fight changing. Because our current state of discomfort is so familiar, we become blind to it. We stop even recognizing it as uncomfortable. Even when relief or pleasure is an available option, we continue to choose the discomfort that is familiar to us because it’s easier. This is why our friends in shitty relationships don’t leave. Shitty becomes their new normal, and leaving seems harder than staying.

How many times have you held a grudge against your partner for like a week, because you didn’t want to let it go? Even though making up would be so much easier and would require so much less energy than giving them the nonstop cold shoulder and perpetuating the tension. How many times have you blamed your boss for ruining your day? Only to walk around as Ms. Pissy Pants all damn day when you could have easily let that shit go and moved on. Because blame is easier than taking responsibility for your emotions.

In the same way, it’s “easier” for me to “protect myself” with emotional isolation and avoidance of vulnerability. Even though accepting the love, affection, and connection offered by my husband would be so much easier and for sure feels way better. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” I intend to do better, especially when it actually feels better.


Ready to step away from easy and choose change? Then let’s do it! Schedule that 45 minute coaching consult, already!

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be easy.

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be easy.” I used to tell myself this about everything: relationships, jobs, friendships. Anytime things got hard, and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable anymore, this was my goto excuse. But the fact is, the shiny always wears off. The adrenaline from excitement will come to an end, and the oxytocin of the honeymoon period will fade. Reality will always set in, and this is when we’ll want to bail. We don’t realize that THIS is when the magic happens. Not when things are shiny and new and “natural,” but when things get hard and uncomfortable and feel like a struggle. We choose ease, comfort, and sameness. Or we accept the challenge of discomfort that comes with growth.

When things become difficult (and they will), it doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong. It just means you’ve reached the fork in the road and it’s time to choose. You can listen to your brain and the old familiar thoughts that cause the same actions/reactions that perpetuate the misery, “They’re just difficult. It’s not my fault. I’ve tried.” Or you can take a minute to recognize that “difficult” is just presenting you with the opportunity to make a new choice. And different won’t necessarily mean easy, but it will mean you get to create the change you’ve been so badly longing for.

For me, this means accepting my husband’s apology when I’d rather just stay mad. Or catching myself when I’m trying to “win” an argument, instead of addressing the actual issue at hand (and oh man, do I love to win). It means staying calm when my hormonal tween daughter has a meltdown that I don’t understand. It means going out of my way to engage and be loving to my stepdaughter, even when she’s icy and standoffish. It means initiating the conversation with my stepkids’ moms, making a conscious effort to be civil, regardless of what’s happened in the past. These choices are not always the easiest ones, but they foster the life I want to create and am therefore willing to take responsibility for. And I choose to make these choices over and over and over again.

Are you having a hard time connecting with your stepkids? Then figure out how you’re behaving that causes a disconnect. What can YOU do to communicate with them on their level? EVEN when it doesn’t work the first time. Are you tired of always fighting with your ex or his? Then figure out what you’re doing to fuel the conflict. What can YOU do to encourage peace? When are YOU fighting to win versus focusing on what’s best for the child? When have you chosen to confront versus letting it go? Relationships, marriage, work, life, can all be hard. But sometimes choosing easy, actually makes it harder.

Are you struggling to know where or how to begin? Let me help! Schedule your free 45-minute coaching consult and let me show you how to start transforming your relationships right this very second!